AIA’s monthly Architecture Billings Index (ABI) for September came in at a score of 49.7, which is a 2.5-point increase from August’s steep drop to 47.2. The ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity in the U.S. and reflects a nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending nationally, regionally, and by project type. A score above 50 represents an increase in billings from the previous month, while a score below 50 represents a contraction.

billings index

“Though still in negative territory, the moderating billings score along with the rebound in design contracts and inquiries serve as a continued note of caution for the industry,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, in a press release. “Continued weakness in the larger economy still doesn’t bode well for future design services, which will likely see continued volatility in the months ahead.” In September, design contracts posted a score of 54.5, a 7.2-point increase from August’s score of 47.2.